OVER one week after public university lecturers commenced strike, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, will today hold crucial meeting with the federal government to commence negotiations on issues that gave rise to the industrial action.
Confirming this development yesterday, the president of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, said the lecturers were not optimistic about the outcome of the meeting which, he said, would determine the seriousness of the federal government towards ending the strike.
“The government has invited us for a meeting tomorrow (today), we are not sure of their seriousness because we have been discussing with them for 16 months without any result,” he said.
On the readiness of the lecturers to call off the strike if tomorrow’s meeting swings in their favour, he said:
“After the meeting, we will tell members the outcome. They are the only ones who can decide to call off the strike.”
Prof. Ogunyemi also said he was not concerned about the formation of a parallel union by some aggrieved lecturers, “who have kept on teaching regardless of the strike order.”
Some lecturers at the Obafemi Awolowo University, under a rival union, Congress of Nigerian Universities Academics, have been teaching, despite the strike.
“ASUU is the only recognised lecturers’ body, some persons are free to show they are annoyed but truthfully, the strike is on and all lecturers have respected it,” the Ogunyemi said.
He also denied rumours that the lecturers had accepted government’s proposal to set up an education bank, which was one of the reasons they went on strike in the first place.
“We have not accepted education banking. We were surprised about reports that we accepted it. It is a means to exploit students and make them pay tuition fee,” he added.